Released last fall from LEE & LOW BOOKS, Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris is a beautiful story of recycling, conservation, and family tradition. Ixchel wants to follow in the long tradition of weaving on backstrap looms, just as her mother, grandmother, and most Mayan women have done for more than two thousand years. But Ixchel’s mother is too busy preparing her weavings for the market. Ixchel first tries weaving with a variety of materials, but then she notices the colorful plastic bags littering her neighborhood and suddenly has an idea that ends up benefitting everyone.
We asked illustrator Elisa Chavarri to take us behind the scenes of her art process bringing Rainbow Weaver to life:
I worked digitally, but I’ve included an example of some of the sketches, and the early character design concept art, (before I figured out the appropriate dress), and some unused artwork/ideas.
Much of the artwork for the clothing was created collage style digitally, and I’ve included some of the photos I took of some of the fabrics I purchased.
When I had questions regarding what the characters should wear, from what area they should be from, etc. Linda’s [Marshall] friends from Mayan Hands, Brenda Rosenbaum and Anne Kelly were very helpful. Anne sent me a few photos for inspiration.
The rest of the Guatemalan fabrics that I photographed/scanned and used in the book I purchased from someone I contacted on Etsy, Debbie Maclin. She also sent me some weaving scraps as references.
You can check out her site here.
You can purchase a copy of Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris here.
See the Teachers Guide here.
Elisa Chavarri is a full-time illustrator who graduated with honors from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she majored in Classical Animation and minored in Comics. Born in Peru, she now lives with her husband and their daughter, cat, and dog in northern Michigan.